Captain America is still stuck in his fear-induced hallucination in the latest issue of Marvel Action: Avengers, but who else is hiding in the shadows pulling the strings, and can Cap find a way to break free?
I’m really glad that the Fear Eaters arc from previous issues has carried on for a bit, even if it’s not the full scale planetary invasion that we’ve already had. It felt a little convenient that these destructive aliens were done away with so quickly, so having some kind of consequence to those events is really good.
It’s also a good move to have Captain America figure out that he’s in a hallucination. It would have been easy to have Cap believe that AIM had taken over the world, that the events he’s living through were real, but it would also have felt like a bit of a cheat to have that going on, meaning nothing, whilst the heroes in the real world fought to save him. Having him know that the things around him are fake, and fighting against it on his side makes for a more dynamic and engaging story. It also shows that Cap isn’t just a guy who makes good speeches and hits things with his shield, but can also figure things out.
This issue moves events along quite nicely, both inside the nightmare and in the real world. In the nightmare the resistance HQ is attacked by the brainwashed heroes, resulting in a fight between the good guys and these strange, yellow versions of their former friends. Yellow Hulk is a particular stand out here, with Captain Marvel making a point of how they’ve had so many different coloured Hulks up to this point already, kind of poking fun at Marvel’s reinvention of Hulk every few years in the regular comics.
This fight ends up putting the heroes on the run, and having to come up with a whole new plan, one that also helps Cap to fight his way free of the dream. It’s kind of weird how quickly the other heroes accept that they might be fakes, but then you could also argue that they’re just humouring Cap at that point, saying whatever it takes to keep him in the fight against AIM.
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There’s something else that happens this issue that makes the story more interesting: the revelation that there’s someone else in the hallucination with Cap, keeping an eye on him from the shadows. We get some brief glimpses of this figure, but even with that I’m not entirely sure who this new party is supposed to be. This added mystery certainly does more to keep me interested, and I actively want to find out who this person is.
As far as middle parts of a story go this one is actually one of the best that they’ve done in Marvel Action: Avengers. It builds on the first issue in new and exciting ways, and leaves readers with a clear idea where things are going to be headed in the final issue, but with mysteries still needing to be solved. Issue 12 is definitely one that I’m looking forward to.
Marvel Action: Avengers #11 is out now from IDW Publishing.